Steamboat Rock (Summit Route)
The summit of Steamboat Rock is reach via an unmarked social route ascending to one of the most prominent peaks overlooking Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. Despite the fact that the views from the top of the formation make this a top 20 viewpoint, you will seldom encounter any other hikers up here!
Start out on the Wilson Canyon system trail that heads due west by following the Forest Service signs from the parking area. At .5 miles from the parking lot exit the system trail and find a footpath heading up the ravine on the backside of Steamboat Rock. From here there are multiple routes through the slickrock ledges on the backside of Steamboat Rock (shown below) but there is a steep climb to reach the deck of the Steamboat.
NOTE: To get on top of the highest point requires class 5 scrambling. The photo above was made with the hiker standing on another rock formation nearby.
The views from the two saddles just west of Steamboat Rock are nothing short of spectacular. Plus there is a small cliff dwelling tucked into a cave (shown below) at the base of the Acropolis, a towering rock formation that forms one of the saddles. From here it is possible to go down the west side of Steamboat Rock, connect with the Jim Thompson Trail, and wrap around the base of Steamboat to return to parking area at Midgley Bridge. As the map below indicates, the lower end of Oak Creek Canyon is a great place for photographers to go exploring!
FINDING THE TRAILHEAD
From Uptown Sedona take Hwy 89A north toward Oak Creek Canyon and Flagstaff. 1 mile past the last roundabout in Uptown cross Midgley Bridge and park in the designated parking area on the left side of the highway. A Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is required to park here.
As the map below indicates, there are three additional places where you could park if the tine lot at Midgley Bridge is full. Listed in order of preference these are the Jim Thompson Trailhead in Uptown Sedona, some free roadside parking on Hwy 89A just north of Midgley Bridge, and Grasshopper Point.
3.2 miles out and back
2-3 hours round trip
Any. Early morning and late afternoon offer the most dramatic light.
Yes. Must be leashed at all times. Please pick up after your pet
and pack it out.